The human body gets its daily requirement of selenium through natural food sources, which shouldn’t cross 400mcg as an overdose of selenium is very harmful and leads to health problems related to infertility, liver, heart and kidney and even death in some cases.
A selenium-deficient diet can cause Keshan’s disease, which can be a fatal condition and also Kashin-Beck. The former can cause heart problems as well as problems in the pulmonary organs. The latter is a condition, which occurs when body also lacks iodine along with a deficiency of selenium. This can lead to stunted growth and degeneration. Selenium deficiency can also lead to hair loss, fatigue, hypothyroidism, bad breath, gastrointestinal problems and liver problems such as cirrhosis.
Selenium rich foods
Sources of selenium are many nuts, grains, vegetables and meat products. Here are some selenium rich foods.
Brazil nuts are one of the richest sources of selenium as a quantity of 100 g of the nut yields 1917 µg of the trace mineral. Brazil nuts are also a good source of antioxidants, vitamin E and hence it is a very nutrient-rich food source. As the name suggests Brazil nuts are native of the Amazonian forests.
Other sources of selenium are nuts such as macadamia and cashew.
Sunflower seeds contain 79.3µg of selenium per 100 g of product. Consumption of sunflower seeds helps prevent cancer as selenium keeps cell damage at bay.
Other seeds that can be consumed as selenium foods are flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds.
Wheat bran is another good source of selenium. 100 g of whole wheat bread provides 40.3µg of selenium. In fact all whole wheat products are a good source of this essential mineral. Wheat bran in its crudest form yields almost 72mcg of selenium. Whole wheat consumed in the form of spaghetti or oat bran also contains good amount of selenium even after these selenium foods go through extreme processing during their manufacturing cycle.
Other whole grains such as pearl barley, quinoa and brown rice are also selenium-enriched food sources.
Pork though generally not considered a very healthy meat compared to other animal protein sources is a good source of selenium. 100 g of lean tenderloin of pork yields 51.6µg of selenium. This is the highest amount of selenium that can be found in a meat source.
Other animal protein sources rich in selenium are chicken, turkey, beef and lamb. 100 g of lean beef can provide 44.8µg of selenium while 100 g of chicken leg or roasted breast can give up to 37.8µg of selenium.
Seafood is a healthy source of food that is also rich in selenium content. 100 g of cooked oysters is equal to 154µg of selenium.
Other seafood sources of selenium are clams, shrimp, lobster and squid.
Fish such as tuna when cooked can provide 108.2µg of selenium. This is a very healthy source of food that can be safely consumed to derive the daily requirement of selenium.
Other fish types rich in selenium are sardine, mackerel, snapper and swordfish.
Mushroom is a good vegetarian source of selenium. 100 g of raw mushroom can provide up to 26.0µg of selenium. Crimini mushrooms and shiitake mushrooms are good sources of selenium and so are white and portabella.
Other vegetables high in selenium are spinach and asparagus.